#974 Texas Rangersvs.#973 Houston Astros
Written by Chris Kubala
Houston Astros (71-44 SU, 61-54 RL, 61-47-7 O/U) vs. Texas Rangers (55-59 SU, 63-51 RL, 51-61-2 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, August 13, 2017, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas, 3:05 pm ET
Lines: Houston -136, Texas +126; Over/Under: 11
It’s the conclusion of a set between a pair of AL West rivals in the Lone Star State. The Houston Astros look to get back on track as they finish up a three game series with the Texas Rangers Sunday afternoon. Texas won the opening game of the series, taking a 6-4 victory Friday night. The pitching matchup for Saturday’s middle game of the set saw Mike Fiers take the mound for the Astros against the Rangers’ Tyson Ross. First pitch in that contest was scheduled for 8:05 pm ET.
Houston continues to struggle as they dropped their fourth in a row with the loss Friday night. The Astros are just 10-15 since the All Star break and have lost eight of their last 10 games. George Springer (run, two RBI) and Marwin Gonzalez (run, RBI) each had two hits for Houston in the loss. Springer hit his 28th homer of the season as the Astros scored four times in the eighth inning. The problem was, they were down 6-0 at that point so their attempts to rally fell short. Charlie Morton (9-5) took the loss: he allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts over 5.2 innings.
Dallas Keuchel makes his 15th start of the year for the Astros in this contest, looking to get back on track. He is 9-2 with a 2.87 ERA, a 1.106 WHIP with 26 walks and 76 strikeouts over 87.2 innings so far this year. Keuchel took the loss in his last start, which came on the road against the White Sox Tuesday. That left him winless in his three starts since missing nearly two months with back and neck issues. He threw four innings, allowing eight runs on 10 hits with three walks and two strikeouts in an 8-5 Astros defeat. Keuchel is 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA, a 2.58 WHIP, eight walks and seven strikeouts over 12 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 20th career start against the Rangers in this contest. He is 6-7 with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.165 WHIP over 127 innings of work against them. Keuchel logs his 10th career start at Globe Life Park here. He is 2-4 with a 5.74 ERA and a 1.519 WHIP while throwing a total of 53.1 innings in those appearances.
Texas came up with an early barrage offensively and then hung on late to get the win in the opener of the set. The Rangers remained three games behind the Twins in the AL wild card race entering Saturday. Elvis Andrus (three runs, RBI) led Texas with three hits in the game while Nomar Mazara (two RBI), Carlos Gomez (two RBI) and Adrian Beltre (RBI) each had two. Cole Hamels (7-1) got the win with seven scoreless frames: he allowed just three hits with two walks and five strikeouts before departing after throwing 98 pitches.
Andrew Cashner takes the mound for his 19th start of the season for the Rangers in this contest. He missed his last start with neck stiffness but hopes to return and build on recent momentum: he is 7-8 with a 3.36 ERA, a 1.346 WHIP, 43 walks and 55 strikeouts over 107 innings of work. Cashner picked up the win in his last start, which came against the Mariners at home back on August 2. He threw six innings, allowing one run on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts in a 5-1 Rangers victory. Cashner is 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, five walks and 12 strikeouts over 19 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 14th career appearance and sixth start against the Astros here: he is 2-5 with a 4.89 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over 38.2 innings of work. Cashner is 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA and a 1.306 WHIP over 49 innings in six career starts at Globe Life Park.
The Astros are reeling right now and if it wasn’t for their torrid play in the first half of the season, they’d have more to worry about. Instead, Houston owns a 13 game lead in the AL West and can absorb losses without having a major impact on their playoff chances. Texas is still fighting to stay in the crowded AL wild card race that no one seems intent on running away with. Keuchel has struggled since coming off the DL while Cashner has won three straight starts. Look for the Rangers to come up with the victory here.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.